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2022 Smoke alarm legislation

Every rental property in Queensland must meet new smoke alarm rules by 31st December 2021.  The QFES have stated that the new rules will be strictly enforced with a penalty of $500 for non-compliance.  With more than 400,000 properties to be made compliant, this represents a significant logistical problem to achieve compliance by the due date.

Fire is a leading cause of accidental death.  Residential occupancies account for most fire fatalities and most of these deaths occur at night during sleeping hours.  Statistics indicate that a family will experience one serious fire every generation.  Safety Watch Australia (SWA) adopts the view that family safety and asset protection is paramount to the narrow interpretation placed by some on the combined readings of the Legislation; Australian Standards; Manufacturers’ Guidelines; building plans and specifications and principles of best practice.  Consequently, we advise within these understandings the exercise of caution and the minimum placement of properly working alarms. SWA is in constant contact with the Queensland Fire and Rescue Services and the QBCC to ensure all legislative requirements are met and our client’s tenants and property remains safe. 

The SWA Smoke Alarm Technician & Compliance Inspector must take into consideration the obligations arising from:

  • Queensland Fire & Rescue Service Act 1990 (QFRSA).
  • Building Code of Australia (BCA).
  • Australian Standard “Smoke Alarm” AS 3786-1993.
  • Australian Standard “Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems-system design, installation and commissioning” AS1670.6-1997.
  • Common Law  (Responsible Stewardship/Duty of Care) – Manufacturer’s Instructions & State Government Recommendations
  • And read in association with The Residential Tenancies & Rooming Accommodation Act.

State Legislation
As of 1st July 2007, changes were applied to the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990, stating that every smoke alarm in a Queensland rental property requires ongoing maintenance. Under this legislation, Landlords or agents must test and clean each smoke alarm within 30 days prior to each tenancy change or renewal. SWA have been protecting landlords ever since by taking this responsibility and liability on and ensuring all bases are covered. 

Current legislation for properties with building approval 
prior to 1st of January 2017:

  • Smoke alarms must be installed:
    • Between each part of the dwelling containing bedrooms and the Remainder of the dwelling
    • Where bedrooms are serviced by a hallway, in that hall, before the first bedroom; and
    • Any other storey not containing bedrooms
  • Smoke alarms must:
    • Have a discernible expiry or manufacture date (smoke alarms expire 10 years post manufacture date) and be replaced when this date is reached.
    • Comply with AS 3786
    • Be hardwired if property had building approval post 1st of July 1997
    • Be connected to 240v power if intended as hardwired.
  • Smoke alarms must not:
    • Be positioned in dead air space
    • Be positioned too close to a forced air environment. Within 400mm.
    • Sound below 85 dba at the smoke alarm
    • Be damaged

New smoke alarm legislation has been passed in parliament and will be/has been implemented in accordance with the time frames below.

Legislative Requirements:

  • Photoelectric smoke alarms will be required in all bedrooms in addition to existing legislation mandating smoke alarms in any hallway servicing bedrooms, between areas containing bedrooms and the remainder of the dwelling and on any other storey not containing bedrooms.
  • All smoke alarms will need to be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10 year lithium battery
  • All smoke alarms must be interconnected.
  • Smoke alarms must be positioned in accordance with the relevant provisions of Australian Standards 1670.6
    • Smoke alarms must not be installed in dead air space (contact SWA for exact details)
    • Smoke alarms must not be installed within 300mm of a light fitting
    • Smoke alarms must not be installed within 400 millimeters of a forced air environment (air conditioning unit, ceiling fan or air vent)
    • If installed in a stairwell, out of reach of smoke because of an obstruction
January 1, 2017

Photoelectronics

In leased properties or properties sold, When replacing an existing smoke alarm, it must be of photoelectric type and comply with the Australian Standards 3786

January 1, 2017
January 1, 2022

Selling properties

Leased properties or properties sold will need to comply with all aspects of the new legislation

January 1, 2022
January 1, 2027

All Properties

All dwellings are required to fully comply with all aspects of the new legislation

January 1, 2027

Note; all New and substantially renovated properties with building approval after 1/1/17 are required to be fully compliant with the new legislation

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